Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 1
by Linnea Tanner
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
Will Catrin overcome and eradicate the ancient curse. Will she be able to embrace her forbidden love for Marcellus? Will she cease the war between Blood Wolf and King Amren and save her kingdom?
Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 2
A Celtic warrior princess accused of treason for aiding her enemy lover must win back her father’s love and trust
In the rich and vibrant tale, Author Linnea Tanner continues the story of Catrin and Marcellus that began with the awarding-winning novel APOLLO’S RAVEN in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings Series. Book 2: DAGGER’S DESTINY sweeps you into an epic tale of forbidden love, mythological adventure, and political intrigue in Ancient Rome and Britannia.
War looms over 24 AD Britannia where rival tribal rulers fight each other for power and the Romans threaten to invade to settle their political differences. King Amren accuses his daughter, Catrin, of treason for aiding the Roman enemy and her lover, Marcellus. The ultimate punishment is death unless she can redeem herself. She must prove loyalty to her father by forsaking Marcellus and defending their kingdom—even to the death. Forged into a warrior, she must overcome tribulations and make the right decisions on her quest to break the curse that foretells her banished half-brother and the Roman Empire will destroy their kingdom.
Yet, when Catrin again reunites with Marcellus, she is torn between her love for him and duty to King Amren. She must ultimately face her greatest challenger who could destroy her life, freedom, and humanity.
Will Catrin finally break the ancient prophecy that looms over her kingdom? Will she abandon her forbidden love for Marcellus to win back her father’s trust and love? Can King Amren balance his brutality to maintain power with the love he feels for Catrin?
Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 3
Curse of Clansmen and Kings Book 4
White Cliffs in Southeast Britannia,
Eve of Samhain, 31 October, 26 AD
Three human skulls hung over King Marrock’s stallion, dangling from a rope like ornaments. Feeling as invincible as a god, he rode to the precipice of the sheer cliffs and listened to the roar of the waves crashing below. Yet, the raven soaring overhead chilled him to the bone—an omen he was but mortal and could plunge to his death.
He embraced the warmth of Boudicca, his younger half sister, who sat astride his horse in front of him. A toddler full of mirth, she was a healer who could connect to the souls of the dead.
Whereas their mother accused him, also known as Blood Wolf, of being a soulless murderer.
On this eve of Samhain, Marrock knew the souls of the dead freely roamed among the living. He spotted his deadliest assassin, Gawain, searching for the wraith on the emerald hilltop. Gawain had a blue, triangular tattoo of a dagger’s blade on his forehead and deadly weapons underneath his black cloak—the royal insignia of the red dragon stitched to the front panel.
For Marrock, the Otherworldly dragon, with its leathery wings and fiery breath, symbolized perpetual power. It was said that where dragons trod, mystic energy flowed. The untamed beast guarded the portal into the Otherworld.
He yearned for the dragon’s mystic power—the power to summon forces from the earth’s molten underbelly to immolate his rivals.
Gawain pointed to a pile of rocks. “The sheepherder saw the wraith over there,” he said in his deep, gravelly voice.
Marrock handed Boudicca to him and then dismounted, pulling the rope of skulls off his horse and draping it over his shoulders. His family’s skulls served as a warning to anyone who threatened his sovereignty.
Until now, he had only been able to summon the deadly powers from the skulls of his stepmother and bastard sister; their souls were encased in the bone crowns. The soul of his father, King Amren, still eluded Marrock, even after he had sliced off his father’s head. If his father’s soul was indeed wandering the hilltop, he would imprison it in the largest empty skull he had.
Then, he would be able to unleash the collective forces from all three souls.
Glancing all around, he could not see his father’s ghostly figure in the thickening fog. Boudicca’s gleeful giggle roused his attention. He watched her waddle toward a mound of stones and place her tiny hands on the stacked rocks.
“Pa. Pa. Am,” she squealed with delight.
Marrock cast a glance at Gawain. “Did the sheepherder see the wraith disappear into those rocks?”
Gawain nodded. “Indeed, I believe so.”
Marrock transferred the roped skulls from his shoulders to the grassy ground and looked at Gawain. “Help me remove the rocks so I can see what is underneath.”
Gawain joined Marrock in the task of removing the white stones one by one. They inspected each rock for any defect before setting it aside.
Boudicca, mimicking the men, picked up flint pebbles and dropped them on the chalky ground.
After a while, they uncovered the gemstone handle of a dagger; its blade was embedded in a coil-shaped serpent stone. Marrock recognized the jewel-studded dagger as once belonging to his father. Intrigued, he gripped the handle with both hands and strained to pull it out, his muscles aching and his face dripping with sweat from the effort.
Suddenly, to his shock, the hilt turned sizzling hot. He jerked his hands away and inspected the blisters that had formed on his reddened palms. Hearing Boudicca’s gleeful babble, he looked down just as she gripped the dagger’s handle.
“Pa. Pa. Am,” she trilled.
To Marrock’s surprise, Boudicca’s hands did not burn.
A prickling sensation noosed around his neck as he recalled the original curse cast by his mother just before his father had executed her.
The gods demand that the scales be balanced for the life you take. If you deny my soul’s journey to the Otherworld by beheading me, I curse you to the same fate as mine. I prophesy your future queen will beget a daughter who will rise as a raven and join your son, Blood Wolf, and a mighty empire will overtake your kingdom and execute my curse.
King Amren had etched the words of the curse on the dagger’s blade using the Roman alphabet with the belief he could thwart the dark prophecy.
Does my father’s soul live in the dagger? Has he come back to exact vengeance on me?
What was your inspiration for writing the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series?
The first time I saw the statue of a warrior queen, Boudicca, and her daughters in a chariot, alongside the Thames River in London, I was intrigued that she united the Britons in a rebellion against the Romans in AD 61 and almost expelled them. Roman historians describe her as a powerful druidess who sacrificed some of her victims to the war goddess, Andraste.
Although the Celtic society was becoming more paternalistic, women were still held in high regard and could rule. The legacy of warrior queens in ancient Britannia and in Irish mythology inspired the primary protagonist, Catrin, in the Curse of Clansmen and Kings series.
The legacy of Marcus Antonius (Mark Antony) and his tragic downfall with Cleopatra inspired me to create Catrin’s lover, Marcellus Antonius, in my series. He is the great-grandson of Mark Antony and grandson of Iullus, who fell on his sword for his treasonous affair with Augustus Caesar’s only daughter, Julia. Little is known about Iullus’s son, Lucius, except that he was exiled to Gaul as a young man, most likely as a condition to escape retribution for his father’s crime.
During the time period in my series (24 AD – 28 AD), the Antonius legacy was cursed by the act of damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory) that erased public records of both Mark Antony and Iullus Antonius. A burning question that I wanted to answer in Skull’s Vengeance is how the tragic legacy would impact Lucius Antonius. How would he react if his son, Marcellus, went down the same fateful path as his forefathers?
Unlike the previous books in the series, Skull’s Vengeance delves into the political firestorm of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. As I researched the Roman political backdrop during the period when Skull’s Vengeance takes place (27 – 28 AD), I became fascinated with the historical figure, Lucius Aelius Sejanus. He was head of the Praetorian Guard who over-reached to gain power from Emperor Tiberius through murder, conspiracy, and betrayal.
Though Tiberius had been an able general and diplomat, his final years as emperor were tyrannical. Roman historians wrote about his sexual perversity and child molestation. At the height of Sejanus’s political power as a consul in 31 A.D., Tiberius unexpectedly had him arrested and mercilessly executed.
Antonia Minor, who is introduced in Skull’s Vengeance, is inspired by my research of this time period in Rome. She was the youngest daughter of Mark Antony and Octavia (Augustus Caesar’s sister), sister-in-law to Tiberius, and half-sister to Iullus Antonius. As a confidant to Tiberius, Antonia Minor had a role in the downfall of Sejanus. She feared her grandson, Caligula, would meet the fate as his older brothers whom Sejanus had imprisoned. She helps Marcellus navigate the political waters to meet directly with Tiberius in the novel.
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